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Paul Hartley Considering Selecting Paul McGowan

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Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan is in line for a surprise appearance against St Johnstone today.

Manager Paul Hartley had given a strong indication that the 27-year-old’s game time would be limited for the remainder of the season.

Following his conviction for police assault, McGowan was placed under a 16-week restriction of liberty order which entails wearing a tag and confines him to his home between 7pm and 7am.

An evening kick-off time ensured he missed the Dark Blues’ 2-1 home defeat to Celtic on Wednesday but it now looks like he will be back in contention to face Saints for today’s 3pm start.

Hartley said: “Paul McGowan will be in the squad and I’m thinking seriously about playing him.

“He’s really in my thoughts.

“This is his job. He gets paid to play football.

“So he is in the squad for this game and we will use him in the matches we can use him in.

“He has been one of our key players.

“Indeed, Paul has had a really good season.

“He’s been consistent, trains well and he plays well also.

“We have spoken to him about getting back in time and he has been home within the period (of his 7pm curfew) so I don’t see it being a problem.”

Meanwhile, Hartley knows his sixth-placed team could do their hopes of finishing in fourth spot a world of good with a victory against the fifth-placed Perth men today.

“It’s a chance for us to close the gap on St Johnstone with a win and also on Dundee United before they play on Sunday,” he said.

“We’re trying to catch the teams above us and there is no margin for error in the next five games.

“I always felt Wednesday’s game against Celtic was a bit of a free game and now we are going into a sort of mini-league.

“We’ll try and get as many points as we can.

“The games with St Johnstone have been close this season.

“It’s not like we don’t know much about each other but we still do our homework on them and we’ve watched footage in the last couple of days of how they’ve played against us.”

As well as McGowan, Kevin Thomson could return to the starting line-up this afternoon.

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